CD Review: Jeremy Schonfeld “Iron and Coal”

Posted: December 27, 2011 in Music
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You might recognize Jeremy Schonfeld from his role as “Daniel” from the film Clear Blue Tuesday, the film revolving around several people who just had their lives ripped apart because of 9/11. After taking on such a powerful role as the one he played in that powerful movie, it was natural for Schonfeld to want to explore his own family and where he came from. This is where his new album of Iron & Coal came from.

A lot of people refer to making an album as a “project”. For Jeremy Schonfeld, that is just what Iron & Coal is. The singer/piano player created this album that centers on his feelings for those relatives who survived the holocaust in World War II. Each of the songs on the release helps promote his own thoughts about the experiences of his family members. This album feels very personal as you listen to the 13 tracks that help create the release.

The Iron & Coal release begins with the “Mourner’s Kaddish”. The track brings a little of the feeling of sorrow and remembrance to the release. The piano-based track is very powerful and beautiful. This particular track is a very powerful lead-in for the rest of the album that is a very personal recording, as the song is a message from a son to his father.

“Dead Beat Heart” picks up the pace and adds more energy to the new release from Jeremy Schonfeld. The upbeat tempo of the song helps downplay the slightly pessimistic lyrics that go along with the memories of days gone by.

On “Good Stuff,” Schonfeld creates the first real moment on the release where you really get to experience the power in his voice. The song is also the first moment where the listener gets to enjoy some real strong rock and roll. With the playing of the musicians, the power of the music and the positive message of the lyrics, “Good Stuff” is easily the best and most commercial track on the release.

“Save Me” is another track that contains a very strong rock approach in the music. That feeling is a good match for the lyrics. The words of the song are interesting to listen to, as they have two different interpretations at once: The singer wants to be saved from the actual people running after him AND the nightmares of those actions left over years later after the situation was over. The strong music really reinforces the feeling one gets from a nightmare.

“Yedid Nefesh – Good Man” changes the feel of the release. The song about doubting one’s self because of someone else’s actions goes from a classical feel with a chorus and strings to a song with a slightly jazzy feel as the song changes directions and languages.

Schonfeld pairs the classical and jazzy approaches of “Yedid Nefesh – Good Man” with the stronger feel of the “Bad Man,” the next track of the album. The song “Bad Man” continues the self-doubt from the previous track but kicks up the energy level with more of a rock and roll feel to the music of this track.

One of the emotional tracks on Iron & Coal from Jeremy Schonfeld is the song “If Only”. The music features not only Schonfeld’s piano but also a very powerful orchestration that helps add a lot of beauty to a release that already contains a lot of pain and suffering. The beauty in the music and words for “If Only” is a nice change from the pain that Schonfeld had been expressing in the tracks that had come before.

The title track from Jeremy Schonfeld’s new album, “Iron and Coal – I Gotta Song,” is one of the best tracks on the release. The quiet prayer for a better life builds to a climax that features Schonfeld letting loose while stretching his vocal cords and showing the strength of his voice. The bells and strings at the end of the track bring a little more beauty to this release.

From the family history of Jeremy Schonfeld to his talent as a singer, piano player and songwriter, there are many different aspects to this release. Whatever it is that attracts you to this solid release, there is much to see and hear that will keep your attention and keep you entertained.

***** (out of five stars)

  1. […] CD Review: Jeremy Schonfeld “Iron and Coal” « Matheson's … With the playing of the musicians, the power of the music and the positive message of the lyrics, “Good Stuff” is easily the best and most commercial track on the release. “Save Me” is another track that contains a very strong rock approach in … — Tue, 27 Dec 2011 10:47:43 -0800 […]

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